Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Animalopedia Poetry

Prudence Mason
Bay District Schools


Students work in groups to research animals and write poems for an Animalopedia classroom book.


The student uses a variety of strategies to prepare for writing (for example, making lists, mapping ideas, rehearsing ideas, grouping related ideas, story webs).

The student uses creative writing strategies appropriate to the format (for example, using appropriate voice; using descriptive language to clarify ideas and create vivid images; using elements of style, such as appropriate tone).

The student writes notes, comments, and observations that reflect comprehension of third-grade or higher level content and experiences from a variety of media.

The student writes for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes (for example, letters to invite or thank, stories or poems to entertain, information to record).


-Insectlopedia book or any other poetry with animal facts to read to the class or an encyclopedia
-White board
-Dry-erase Markers
-Chart paper
-Colored markers
-Large sheets of blank paper and markers for student KWL charts
-Various non-fiction picture books about animals on independent reading levels
-Magazines with pictures of animals or computer with animal clipart availability
-Computers with Internet access or computer software with animal information and pictures
-Book baskets or magazine holders labeled A-E, F-J, K-O, P-T, U-Z, and various animals
-A class set of Thesauruses
-Dictionaries appropriate to reading levels
-Paper bag containing slips of paper with students' names
-Paper for the students
-Pencils for the students
-Sample Animalopedia poem (See attached file.)
-Rubric for poem (See attached file.)


1. Gather all listed materials
2. Use markers to list each letter of the alphabet in a color pattern down the left side of chart paper and post in the classroom.
3. Copy sample Animalopedia poem to a transparency
4. Label 6 book baskets with A-E, F-J, K-O, P-T, U-Z, and various animals.
5. Place books with animal information in corresponding baskets.
6. Make a list of Web addresses where the students can find animal clipart and/or enter them in favorite places in computer.
7. Make copies of rubric for evaluation of students' poems.


1. Hold up an encyclopedia and read a few sentences from it about an animal. -Have you ever sat down and read an encyclopedia?- -It has some great information, but not very exciting to read.-

2. Put the sample Animalopedia poem on the projector and present to the class. -Today we are going to research an animal and learn a new creative writing strategy to write an informational poem like this one that people will love reading.-

3. Hold up pictures of different animals and have students name them as you write them on the board. Brainstorm the names of other animals and write them on the board. Try to think of an animal that begins with every different letter of the alphabet.
4. Once you have an animal with every letter, draw a student's name from the bag and have that student choose an animal from the list to write about. Have that student write the name of his or her chosen animal on the chart paper next to the letter with which it starts and add his or her name next to it.

5. When every student has an animal, pick one that begins with a letter that has not been chosen and ask the students if they will all help write a poem about this animal.

6. Post and label a sheet of chart paper -Procedures- and record steps of what you do for the students to refer to when it is their turn to work on their KWLs independently.

7. Put a KWL on the board and have them brainstorm descriptions of the animal from what they think they know about it, and model how to make a word bank using the key words. Be sure to ask them what they think is important to this animal (food, shelter, protection, play) before reading a short book or passage about the animal.

8. Model how to stop reading after each page or paragraph and ask themselves what they learned, and have them record any new interesting descriptions or other information on the L section of the KWL.

9. Review -Procedures- and give instructions for finding their book basket, paper, and markers for their KWL charts.

10. Put the students in groups that correspond with the range of letters on the book baskets.

11. Circulate among the students and assist with their research and recording.

12. When students are finished, they can find pictures of their animals in magazines, Internet, or computer clipart to use when making their book. (See Weblinks.)

Day 2
1. Post -Procedures- chart and add new steps.

2. When all students have their information, use the KWL made by the class the day before to show them how to circle the key words and brainstorm any other words that rhyme with those words.

3. Once you have a big word bank, model how to use these words in a poem about the animal. Keep this poem to use again in the next part of the lesson.

4. Review the -Procedures- and let students work with partners for assistance and ideas.

5. Circulate and give the students encouragement and clues to help them with their poems.

6. Instruct the students to read their poems to at least two other people for suggestions and for error corrections.

7. Be sure they have an editor's checklist posted in the classroom to use as a reference.

Day 3
1. Hand out Thesauruses to the students.

2. Add these steps to your procedures chart as you do them.

3. Post the poem that was written by the class and have a student read it.

4. Have them pick out all the verbs, adjectives and adverbs, and challenge them to think of words that would sound more like the animal's character.

5. Model how to look them up in a Thesaurus, and find a -word to use instead of ...- to replace them with.

6. Call on students to choose words in the poems to look up and replace.

7. Model for the students how to choose their favorite replaced words and list the new words they found -to use instead of...- for the new word chart to be posted in the classroom.

8. Reread the poem after each word is replaced, until you have at least 6 new words.

9. Hand out rubric for poems and show them how to assess with it using the sample poem.

10. Review the -procedures- and have the students work with a partner to revise their poems.

11. Circulate to assist.

12. Have students self-evaluate their poems using the rubric.

13. As they finish, grade them according to the rubric in a student writing conference.

14. Have them publish their poems on construction paper or using a computer word processing program, illustrate, and bind them in a book for the

15. Have them read their finished poems to the class.

16. Use the new -words to use instead of ...- charts to play charades.


The poetry can be formatively assessed using the attached rubric that includes self-assessment by the student, as well as teacher assessment.


Students can submit their published poems to Sitemaker on Beacon.

Web Links

Allows students to create online, multimedia reports on a variety of themes and topics SiteMaker

Attached Files

Two-page document, including rubric and sample poem.     File Extension: pdf

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